With regard to permissibility of praying at home at times of tribulation, when Muslims cannot walk safely through the streets or reach the mosque safe and sound to attend prayers in jamaa’ah. But we must examine the situation more carefully before deciding not to attend Jumu’ah prayer because of its extreme importance. So we should not stop praying in jamaa’ah or stop attending Jumu’ah prayers on the grounds of mere speculation or an unlikely possibility of aggression. Rather if a person is certain or believes it to be most likely that he will be attacked if he goes to the mosque, then it is permissible for him not to go.

Among the opinions of the scholars concerning the permissibility of refraining from going to Jumu’ah prayers or prayers in jamaa’ah because of fear is the comment of Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) who said: “The one who is sick and the one who is afraid is excused from attending them – i.e., Jumu’ah and prayers in jamaa’ah – according to the view of most of the scholars. Ibn ‘Abbaas narrated that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhiwasallam) said: ‘Whoever hears the call to prayer and is not prevented from responding by an excuse –’ They said, ‘What is the excuse, O Messenger of Allaah?’ He said, ‘Fear or sickness, (otherwise) the prayer that he offers will not be accepted.’” (narrated by Abu Dawood, 1/130. Shaykh al-Albaani classed this version of the hadeeth as da’eef (weak), but he classed as saheeh (sound) the version narrated by Ibn Maajah, 793, which says: “Whoever hears the call and does not come, his prayer is not valid, except for one who has an excuse.”Al-Irwaa’ 2/337). And Bilaal used to give the call to prayer; one day the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came when he was sick, and said, ‘Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer.’” (al-Bukhaari, 633; Muslim, 418)

Fear is of three kinds: fear for oneself, fear for one’s wealth, and fear for one’s family. The first kind means fearing capture by an oppressive ruler, or an enemy, or a thief, or attack by wild animals, or a flood, etc., which may cause harm to oneself.

The second kind means fear for one’s wealth if one leaves home, as we have mentioned, such as oppressive rulers, thieves and the like, or fear that one’s house may be broken into or burned down or something like that; in such cases one is excused from attending Jumu’ah and prayers in jamaa’ah.

The third kind means fear for one’s child and family. In all such cases one is excused from attending Jumu’ah and prayers in jamaa’ah. This was the view of ‘Ataa’, al-Hasan, al-Oozaa’i and al-Shaafa’i, and we know of no difference of opinion concerning this matter.” (summarized from al-Mughni, 2/376).

In Fataawa al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, when a man asked him about refraining from attending prayers in jamaa’ah because he was afraid for his wife, he said, “If there is some danger to your wife (at home) and she is not safe, and she is surrounded by things which give rise to fear, then he is excused for praying at home because of his fear for his wife…” Then he said: “But if your wife is not safe and the place is not safe, and danger is present, then it is o.k. for you to pray at home; this is a legitimate excuse…”

Majmoo’ Fataawa Samaahat al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), 12/42

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With regard to Muslim women, they should stay in their homes and not go out – as much as they can – lest they be exposed to harm. Their relatives and neighbours should help them to meet their needs so that they will not be forced to go out. This is a means of earning great reward by helping those who are in desperate need.

With regard to Muslim men giving up distinctive Islamic dress and wearing the clothes commonly found in the kaafir society in which he lives, that is o.k., especially at times of persecution and harassment. Imaam Ibn Taymiyah said:

“The Muslim in a kaafir country that is at war with the Muslims or otherwise is not commanded to differ from them in outward appearance, because of the harm that may result from that. Rather it is recommended or obligatory for men to resemble them sometimes in his outward appearance, if that serves a religious purpose such as calling them to Islam, or finding out about their true state of affairs in order to inform the Muslims of that, or warding off their harm from the Muslims, and other righteous goals.” (Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, p. 176).

The words of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah must be understood correctly. He is speaking of special circumstances or cases of necessity; he does not mean at all that Muslims should become assimilated with the kaafirs and do evil things or drink alcohol with them or that Muslim children should go to churches and lose their Islamic identity. Rather what is meant is that it is permissible to forego distinctive Islamic dress – for example – and wear clothing of the type prevalent in the kaafir country, and to speak the language of the kaafirs, etc., in order to ward off the harm of the kaafirs, especially in an atmosphere that is charged with hostility.

Perhaps these events will give the Muslims who are living in kaafir lands unnecessarily and for no shar’i purpose the opportunity to review their situation and consider going back to the Muslim world and making hijrah from the land of the kaafirs.

“O you who have believed, shall I guide you to a transaction that will save you from a painful punishment? [It is that] you believe in Allah and His Messenger and strive in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is best for you, if you should know. He will forgive for you your sins and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow and pleasant dwellings in gardens of perpetual residence. That is the great attainment. And [you will obtain] another [favor] that you love – victory from Allah and an imminent conquest; and give good tidings to the believers”. (Q61:10-13)



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